We were all looking forward to the first birth in our new herd. Although there was excitement in the air, there was also a sense of reserved nervousness. This was not a planned pregnancy as have been every pregnancy here at Gullringstorp. We breed according to age of our does and my need for milk for my business, Li’l Sis Eco-Friendly Goat Milk Soap. Each mating is carefully planned.
When we started our new herd, we learned of a couple of our goats having escaped their previous enclosures. This presented a challenge for us because our fencing worked perfectly for our previous herd. At this point we added two more rows of electric cord to our fence. Well, this was not sufficient as we found out one day when we went to check on our new goats to find an extra goat in the buck’s enclosure. Wow, were we shocked !! We got her out as quickly as we could just hoped that nothing had happened.
Our little Tova developed an udder and then we knew she had been bred. The worrying had just begun. I tried to be happy and excited but in my mind I knew there were risks involved. Our little Tova was only 5 months old when she was accidentally bred. We always choose to breed our does at one year or a year and a half. From my researching and experience, it’s better to allow your doe to mature and grow properly. Yes, they can get pregnant at 5 mos or even 3 mos but its not wise. One concern is that the kid might be to large to pass through the birth canal easily causing issues for both mother and baby. The other concern is that the baby is aborted, naturally, usually prematurely.
This is exactly what happened with Tova’s birth. It was actually an aborted birth of a premature kid.
As she laboured, her sister Tindra stayed very close to her. It was beautiful to watch. Tova’s labour was silent compared to other goats. Some goats can scream so loud, you would think they were dying. They can have loud blood curdling screams. It’s frightening, even is you expect this. Tova’s stoic labour made it difficult to gauge her progress. Another difference was that Tova laboured and delivered, standing up. Before we knew it, there was a baby born.
When we saw that the baby was not moving, I quickly started everything I knew to do to try and get this baby started. I swung him tying to clear his chest of mucus. I cleared his nose and mouth to remove excess mucus. Leif handed me a towel which I used to vigorously rub baby to help start breathing. I also gave mouth to mouth with CPR compressions. I worked for nearly 40 mins a with no luck. We removed the baby and I stayed with Tova for over an hour for her to either deliver a second baby or her afterbirth.
We were so sad not to have a viable baby and we were very sad for Tova. I sat with her on the straw bed in her box. I stepped outside for a bit of fresh air and just a change. It was the strangest sensation to step out into the sunshine and green. It was like a movie when the person steps through a door and it’s a different world. Everything seemed so much greener and the sun was so much brighter. I was transported to a fantasy world, for just a few moments.
After the long wait, Tova delivered her afterbirth and there was no second baby. Tova’s udder was full but after the difficult time she had, I decided to wait till the next day to milk her. She was afraid at first so I brought in her sister which helped her settle dow on the milk stand. First thing I did was to gently wash her udder of all the birthing residue. I made a warm bath and used soft cloths to clean her of all the straw that was stuck to her. She seemed to enjoy this. After she was all dry, I rubbed in warmed up udder cream. when I hooked her up to the milking machine she was afraid. I understood she would be afraid, at first. She sat down which of course made it difficult to hook up to her teets. Finally she stood up and before we knew it, we were finished. She gave a good amount of colostrum which I have frozen. This will be saved if anyone needs this first milk full of antibodies.
After her milking, I took both Tova and her sister Tindra out for a walk around Gullringstorp, to graze on yummy grasses and branches. Poor Tova cried such a sad mournful cry as she nibbled the grass and branches. It made me cry. I had noticed that she had been looking around her box, for her baby. It took time for her to realise, that she had a baby but now wanted that baby. I just felt she needed an easy grazing and not be pushed around by the other goats in the enclosure. They had their walk in the morning and in the evening.
Today after milking, the girls had another walk. Her cries were not so abundant and she really needed attention. She got lots of rubs and kisses as she enjoyed grass and flowers.
Because we are a Gene Bank for these beautiful Lappgetter, it was important to find out what we were expected to do with the little body. Leif searched all the papers we had in our Gene Bank folder, nothing. An email was sent to Ann Jessica to let her know what happened and asked if there were any special procedures we were expected to adhere to. There were none. She also explained that conceiving at such a young age would commonly result in premature aborted kids. I knew this but was just hoping beyond hope that her baby would be ok.
It’s a sad time at Gullringstorp. I know it will pass as Tova moves on and enjoys the nice days in the enclosure. I, on the other hand am still blue.
Tindra stood on the drum and stayed very close to Tova during labour and delivery
The little baby was laid on the towel we used to try and rub life into him. As I walked outside, I looked at the baby closely. I saw that all was perfect accept his hooves which had not completed their development. They were soft. I couldn’t help but kiss him and tell him he would join other babies and he would see his mommy again one day. Instinct led me to cover him with the towel, as if he were sleeping.
Tova’s udder needed cleaning up
Washed with a warm bath. All clean.
A small amount of warmed up Udder Cream was massage into her clean udder
I know this is life on a farm, but that never seems to take away the sting of loss.